Sunscreen in eyes

It's essential to wear sunscreen every day of the year, regardless of whether it's summer or the cold, not-so-sunny winter months, and whether you're planning on spending time at the beach, on the lake, or even at the park. 

But watch out for the agonizing sting when sunscreen seeps into your eyes. Even though sunscreen doesn't permanently damage the eyes, it can cause chemical burns on the eye's surface that can cause discomfort for a few days.

Sunscreen in eyes in Bellflower

How should I apply sunscreen so that it doesn't get in my eyes?

The best way to prevent sunscreen from entering your eyes is to apply it carefully. Use sunscreen lotion slowly and carefully on your face, avoiding your eyes and eyelids. Mineral-based sunscreens, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, adhere to the skin better and are therefore less likely to enter the eye. Avoid applying spray-on sunscreen on your face. Be sure to keep sunblock containers out of the reach of children and apply their sunscreen yourself. You should not allow your child to apply sunscreen themselves since they may rub their eyes without washing their hands first.

Amplify Eyecare of Greater Long Beach

How do I get the sunscreen out of my eyes?

Wipe your eyes

You should wipe around your eyes first to remove any excess sunscreen so that it does not happen repeatedly. If you're wiping your eyes, make sure you don't get sunscreen in them. 

Flush your eyes

The next step is to flush your eyes with clean water to remove any sunscreen from them. Flushing your eyes can be done in several ways, including using a syringe or by cupping water in a clean hand and dipping your eye into it, you can also keep your eye open under a gently flowing tap. It's important to remember that, no matter how you flush out your eyes, you're going to feel some discomfort initially, but once it's out the discomfort will subside.

Applying a cold compress

You can also apply a cold compress to ease the pain. Make sure you use preservative-free artificial tears frequently for a few days. Avoid eye drops that contain preservatives, since the chemicals could irritate your eyes further.

The irritation should disappear completely within a few days, depending on the circumstances. But if you are still experiencing irritation, you should visit us at Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach for a thorough eye exam.

Fortunately, not all sunscreens burn the eyes. There are two types of sunscreens – chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens provide great protection from the sun's harmful UV rays, but many of them can burn if they get near your eyes. The good news is that physical sunscreens also provide great sun protection but do not burn! Don't let the wrong sunscreen spoil your outdoor fun. Look for sunscreens whose only active ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. 

Why wear sunscreen?

Besides protecting yourself from sunburn (if your skin type burns), following are other reasons why you need to wear sunscreen:

  • The use of sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer.
  • Wearing sunscreen reduces premature aging.
  • Using sunscreen reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation.
  • Sunscreen helps prevent skin inflammation.
  • Sunscreen helps to prevent sun sensitivity.

Common Questions

In the event your child gets sunscreen in their eyes, please remember the following: Do not panic. While your child may be in pain, this pain will not last and sunscreen on the eyes will not cause lasting damage. When you appear scared, your child will be more afraid as well. By being calm, you will help your child remain calm. Wash your child's face with water. Get them to look up and gently pour water on their eyes with a cup. Our office or any local drugstore carries lubricating eye drops that do not contain any medications. These will help relieve any discomfort for a couple of days. In case your child is still experiencing some discomfort, try placing a cold washcloth over the eyes. If you're concerned for any reason or if you have any questions, you can call us at [mbv name="token-practice-phone"].
There are no reported cases of sunscreen causing permanent damage, however it may cause prolonged discomfort. In the even that sunscreen is causing protracted discomfort please schedule an emergency eye exam with our eye doctors who can reduce discomfort.
Sunscreen in eyes
Dr. Ikeda cartoon

Schedule a Medical Eye Exam Immediately

If you have tried all the methods listed above to alleviate the pain in your eyes and flush out the sunscreen, but you are still experiencing pain or burn in your eyes, then you may want to schedule an appointment with us for a medical eye exam. To schedule a medical eye exam, call us at (562) 925-6591 or book an appointment here by clicking this link Book an Appointment .

Testimonials


  • I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.


    Claire A.

  • Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.


    Jim K.

  • My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!


    Teresa S.

  • The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.


    Joe M.

  • I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.


    Kayla W.

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